Should I get a Divorce or an Annulment in Illinois?
Rather than choosing to terminate a marriage with divorce, some couples choose an annulment. Annulment, when granted by a court, essentially invalidates a marriage from day it began. Unlike with a divorce, an annulment means that there was never a marriage at all and the two parties involved were never united as husband and wife.
Here in Illinois, there are four specific cases in which annulment is a viable option for a couple. These grounds for annulment in Illinois are:
- One party lacks the physical ability to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, and the other party did not know at the time of the marriage.
- A party was under the legal age of marriage at the time of the wedding and did not have the consent of parents, guardians, or the court
- The marriage itself is prohibited (for example, one party was already married at the time of the ceremony).
- A party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage at the time of the ceremony because of mental incapacity or infirmity or the influence of alcohol or drugs, or was coerced into entering the marriage by force, duress, or fraud.
The time limits for filing for annulment vary depending on the grounds on which you are basing your annulment, but all cases follow the same general pattern of steps.
- First, you and your spouse must prepare a Petition for Annulment. To do this, it is best to contact a family law attorney to assist you in drawing up a pleading. These documents must follow strict guidelines.
- Next, bring your Petition for Annulment to the county or circuit court.
- Once this is done, file a Return of Service with the court clerk.
- After you have received a date of service on your Petition, you will attend court and ultimately receive the Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage (if all goes as planned.)
If you and your spouse are considering turning to the process of annulment in Illinois, do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced Illinois family law attorney to help you with the process and ensure the best result possible: the invalidity of your marriage.